1. How is the convention site chosen?
About 5 years prior to a convention, NCTE/CCCC convention staff begin to look for convention locations using the criteria outlined below. From those possibilities, a list of sites is presented to the membership, who provide feedback on the locations. A final list of 2-3 sites is then presented to the executive committee for discussion no later than three years prior to the year in which the convention is to be held.
The list of possible sites is determined by a number of logistical considerations (e.g., size) and principles passed by past Executive Committees. For instance, the convention site must:
- Be aligned with CCCC’s mission and vision
- Not have any existing or pending legislation that is unjust or perpetuates inequality against one or more groups of people
- Accommodate at least 3,500 presenters in concurrent presentations (approximately 45 presentation rooms)
- Be accessible for participants with disabilities
- Provide adequate A/V and wireless bandwidth within the budget allocated for technology by the CCCC Executive Committee
- Be located within walking or public transportation distance from hotels
Meanwhile, the convention location must:
- Have a number of hotels (including the main conference hotel) with rooms at reasonable rates for the locale
- Be located near a major airport
- Be aligned with the principles and values articulated in the CCCC mission
Convention sites are chosen on a rotation: East, Midwest, West, Midwest, East, Midwest, etc.
To select possible convention locations, the NCTE convention staff (who also coordinate the CCCC convention siting process) visit a number of possible locations. They put together a proposal outlining the possibilities, pros, and cons of each location. A list of 2-4 possible sites is then put to the CCCC membership for feedback. The sites are then voted on by the CCCC Executive Committee for a final decision. At the time of the decision, the convention staff present the EC with a more thorough dossier that includes the budgets and contracts for the site (including convention facilities and hotels), a summary of the political situation in the convention location, and member feedback.
Currently, the CCCC Convention is sited through 2022. That conference will be held in Chicago, IL. The CCCC EC chose Chicago over Columbus, OH, based on member feedback and EC discussion of the context and political situation in both cities.
4. Are there any cities or states where we can’t go, in protest to some laws?
Not precisely. In November, 2013, the CCCC Executive Committee passed the CCCC Convention and Hostile Legislation Guiding Principles. This forms a foundation for site selection.
5. Has the convention ever been moved or cancelled?
The convention was moved from the San Francisco Hilton to the Moscone Center in 2005 because the hotel workers in San Francisco went on strike. However, CCCC pledged to return to SF for the 2009 convention, thus avoiding millions of dollars in contract cancellation fees. The 2020 convention in Milwaukee was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This required many months of negotiation to minimize financial penalties to the organization. The 2021 convention was moved to a virtual event, again due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which also required many months of renegotiation and a re-booking of the convention site for 2024.
6. Why is it so complicated to move or cancel the convention?
Several reasons. The CCCC convention is largely a volunteer effort. It is coordinated by the officer elected as assistant chair approximately 16 months before the convention takes place (in other words, the officer elected in August will run the convention not the next spring, but the spring afterward). That officer begins work on the convention, drafting their convention call, about 30 days after they step into the position as assistant chair (in December following their election).
From that moment forward, and especially after the convention that occurs a few months later, they are working in earnest on planning their convention. This includes visiting the site, recruiting a volunteer local committee (consisting of colleagues in the area), and planning local events and activities. In June/July, the convention chair works with NCTE staff on proposal review. At that point, the chair begins fitting the convention into the space available for the convention – because each convention is fit only to the available space, not to a generic space. Once this process begins, the investment of time, connections, and money has begun; each of those is lost if and when a convention is moved or cancelled. NCTE also signs contracts for space (convention and hotel) once a convention is sited. The contracts for these locations have cancellation penalties. Depending on the contracts, these penalties can be extremely expensive (hundreds of thousands to over one million dollars).
Any funds associated with cancellation come from the CCCC contingency fund, money set aside for transformational CCCC efforts and initiatives. A drop in CCCC’s budget could mean the loss or elimination of these efforts. It also inhibits CCCC’s and NCTE’s abilities to negotiate future contracts, since these contracts require that organizations have funds available in case of emergency cancellation.
8. While I’m at it, where do I learn about CCCC governance, committees, policies, etc.?
9. If I want to be more involved in the organization, what can I do?
Join a Special Interest Group or Standing Group (see the program for meeting times) and/or express your interest in serving on a CCCC committee (including award selection committees) by emailing the CCCC Liaison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. How are CCCC EC Members and Officers elected?
A nominating committee solicits nominations and presents a slate for voting.
11. How does CCCC pay for its meeting rooms?
Two models. In large hotels (and some convention center cities), CCCC gets free or substantially subsidized meeting rooms if members fill a certain number of sleeping rooms. (CCCC contracts for a certain number of rooms. If bookings fall short, the organization has to pay the difference. If it books too few, then members can be left to fend for themselves.) In other sites, we pay separately for meeting rooms in the hotel or in a convention center. This costs tens and tens of thousands of dollars.
12. What’s the registration fee, and how does that compare to other national association convention fees?
$195 for CCCC members; substantially less for grad students and adjuncts/retirees/veterans. Generally cheaper. This compares very favorably to other national association conferences, whose registration costs are generally upward of $300.00. The CCCC Executive Committee has consistently voted over the years to keep registration costs as low as possible.
13. How generously does CCCC support adjuncts, graduate students, etc.?
CCCC has a number of programs supporting adjuncts, graduate students, and undergraduates.
The CCCC Assistance Fund for Contingent Faculty provides funding ($500 grants) to the CCCC Annual Convention to contingent faculty at two-year colleges and four-year colleges and universities. Funds are raised from the CCCC membership and matched by CCCC. The number of awards is dependent on the amount of donations received.
The Professional Equity Project subsidizes adjuncts, providing registration, membership in CCCC, and a check for $150.
Scholars for the Dream gives 20 awards (of $1,000 each) for scholars of color to attend the convention.
Tribal College awards gives 2 awards (of $1,250 each) to attend the convention. In recent years, 4 graduate students each year have received $750 to attend the convention.
Most recently, 6 individuals receive $750 scholarships for their work on disability issues; 3 individuals whose work participates in the making of meaning out of sexual and gender minority experiences receive $750 scholarships; and 2 scholars from Mexico, Central, or South America receive $1,000 scholarships. This amounts to approximately $60,000 of support each year.
14. Do CCCC’s leaders wish we could do more to support these groups?
Certainly! That said, the Executive Committee (which serves as the financial manager for the organization) must balance between the needs and interests of all of its members, trying to use its resources (people, financial) as effectively as it possibly can. This means that the Executive Committee needs to be very strategic in its decisions at all times.
15. How do we pay for the support we do provide?
Membership dues, convention registrations, member contributions, sponsorships, and advertising and exhibiting income.
16. After all the convention bills are paid, what do the members get from a surplus—if any?
As a nonprofit, membership organization, CCCC puts any surpluses towards programming and membership services. For example, in the past decade, CCCC has funded over $600,000 in research grants.
17. Who sets the program?
The CCCC program chair (assistant chair of CCCC) writes the call for proposals and sets the strategic direction for the convention. The assistant chair also recruits Stage 1 and Stage 2 reviewers. This group blind reviews all submissions for CCCC.
Stage 1 review takes place online (usually between May and June), and has historically included individual proposal submissions. Stage 1 review must be completed before stage 2 review can begin.
Stage 2 review typically takes place face to face and has historically included all panel submissions and workshops. At stage 2 review, proposals that have been accepted in stage 1 are also combined into panels.
18. What’s the acceptance rate?
19. How does NCTE staff help?
As a conference of NCTE, CCCC has no staff of its own. Instead, CCCC contracts with NCTE staff to assist with the management of the conference. In this instance, CCCC contracts with NCTE’s convention department, which helps not only CCCC and the NCTE annual conventions but also meetings of several other constituent groups. CCCC benefits from the expertise of those staff. The NCTE staff designs and handles printing, websites, hotel and exhibitor negotiations, registrations, etc. Membership dues and convention registrations pay a portion of the salaries of the many good NCTE folks.